Ethnic Studies NOW Petition - Compton
We, the undersigned, support the creation of an A-G approved Ethnic Studies course as a high school graduation requirement in each of the high schools in Compton, CA.
Using demographic data provided by the California Department of Education for the 2014-15 K-12 academic school year, our students are 79 % Hispanic/Latino, 19 % African American, .1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, .05 % Asian, .68 % Pacific Islander, .06 % Filipino, and .33 % White. The time is NOW for our ethnically diverse youth to see their hi/stories as worthy of study and inquiry. We believe in the power of a curriculum that can present a genealogy of common struggles and successes. The best education includes narratives often missing from a Euro-centric curriculum that marginalizes diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives. Ethnic Studies recognizes that our students are valuable and worthy of an education that teaches them a complex, well-rounded, and critical history of the United States.
Currently recorded in the US Census Bureau for the years 2010-2014, the high school graduation rate for the city of Compton is a mere 60.1%. Furthermore, only 6.4% of our population, between the same time period, obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Research demonstrates that Ethnic Studies curriculums can help close the achievement gap, reduce student truancy, increase student enrollment, reduce “drop-out” rates, and increase graduation rates. Ethnic Studies requires and prompts students to be critical thinkers in not only identifying complex social problems, but also to collaborate in real world problem solving and solution posing. Ethnic Studies allows our students the opportunity to become active agents of social change in their community by promoting civic engagement and leadership.
Currently, there are no formally established Ethnic Studies programs, in which all students have access, in any of our Compton high school’s. Further, we advocate for the establishment of Ethnic Studies curriculums at all levels of education: elementary, middle, and high schools. It is time that all Compton students have access to Ethnic Studies courses that, not only, make their K-12 education culturally relevant and embraces their lived experiences of being a part of a diversely rich community, but, also, motivates young people to connect in meaningful ways that lead to self-actualization.
Several neighboring school districts and throughout the state are actively implementing Ethnic Studies programs into their high school curriculum, including the largest district in the state of California, Los Angeles Unified School District. Compton has the opportunity to be at the forefront of this state-wide educational movement and join districts such as El Rancho Unified, Montebello Unified, San Francisco Unified, Sacramento Unified, San Diego Unified, Coachella Valley Unified, among many more.
Upon the passage of this resolution, we support the effort to establish a mandatory Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee that would aid in the development and implementation of this curriculum.
We demand that this committee to be a representative body that is inclusive of all stakeholders: parents, students, residents, teachers, workers- regardless of legal status, language, sexuality and/or any other identities that could or may be seen as a barrier for participation.
At the end of it all, this initiative is about self-love and dismantling the legacy of white supremacy that continues to perpetuate violence against ourselves, each other, and our community. We believe that when students begin to think critically about their own race, gender, ethnicity and location- students will be empowered to become agents of social justice.
By transforming our education, we are transforming our lives, and in effect transforming our city.
We ask that you please sign your name, below, in support of ESN’s recommendations to the CA State Board of Education (SBE) for the new CA History-Social Science Framework’s (HSSFW) Ethnic Studies elective course. The SBE’s next meeting is scheduled to be the last time to make any changes to this framework for at least another 8 years!
How can a general ES course description not have any mention of students learning about their ancestral roots, or about colonialism, or about self-determination for that matter? Community cultural wealth? Please see our recommended line edits to the SBE that will ensure that these main concepts are not left out.
Today, please sign and spread the word! This will only take a moment and with your support, we can affect the HSSFW’s official description of Ethnic Studies, and help make it more genuine, critical, and transformational for thousands of students across California – it is what they deserve. Please Sign and spread the word!870 signatures
~~ETHNIC STUDIES NOW COALITION: IMPERATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS TO CA SBE FOR CA HSSFW~~
1. Our first recommendation is for Chapter 14, p.425, line 648, to explicitly include four core concepts and academic language of Ethnic Studies, after "...a more complex understanding of the human experience". ADDITION: "This understanding relates to student knowledge of the concepts of indigeneity, colonialism, cultural hegemony, and self-determination, as they have occurred throughout history and today”.
2. Our second recommendation is that these concepts be explicitly culturally relevant and responsive to students in Chapter 14, p.426, line 675, after "co-investigators in the inquiry process". ADDITION: "This reflection of instructors and students' own personal histories should be considerate of how the concepts of indigeneity, colonialism, cultural hegemony, and community cultural wealth, relate to their own ancestral legacies as historically situated human beings".
3. Our third recommendation, is to respect the Ethnic Studies tradition of explicitly acknowledging the Indigenous peoples of the land where any course is taking place. We recommend adding a sentence in Chapter 14, p.427, line 692, before the following sentence: “Students can investigate the history of the experience of various ethnic groups within the United States...”. ADDITION: “In studying various ethnic groups, the Indigenous peoples of any area under academic investigation and of any land where a course is taking place (e.g. Miwok in Sacramento, Chumash in Santa Barbara, Kumeyaay in San Diego), are respectfully acknowledged as the original peoples of the community”.